The menu at Mikey's Italian Bistro is filled with well-executed Southern Italian dishes, from simple spaghetti and meatballs to calorie-laden lasagnas. But it's an off-the-menu item that's a must-have. Ask chef/owner Alaya Ouerfelli for a chicken-parm sandwich, and prepare to melt into food-coma delight. While too many chicken parms are made of old bird that's been breaded and flash-fried, Mikey's is tender and moist, with just the right amount of cheese and sauce poured on the fresh rolls. Menudo is touted as a hangover cure, but this sandwich always does the job for us.

Bernadette O'Dell's Zoot Sandwich is a frequent treat along Santa Fe Drive on First Fridays. Partly because the hot soppressata, roasted red pepper and mozzarella creation is so damned delicious, and partly because its namesake, Zoots by Suavecito's, is located on Santa Fe. Craig Peña, Suavecito's owner, frequented the deli so often that O'Dell finally named a sandwich after the gregarious haberdasher. Deli Italia is a New York-style treasure hidden in a suburban strip mall; you don't need to be a celebrity to come in and pick up a sandwich to eat in or take out, or browse through the aisles of gourmet foods.


Bernadette O'Dell's Zoot Sandwich is a frequent treat along Santa Fe Drive on First Fridays. Partly because the hot soppressata, roasted red pepper and mozzarella creation is so damned delicious, and partly because its namesake, Zoots by Suavecito's, is located on Santa Fe. Craig Pea, Suavecito's owner, frequented the deli so often that O'Dell finally named a sandwich after the gregarious haberdasher. Deli Italia is a New York-style treasure hidden in a suburban strip mall; you don't need to be a celebrity to come in and pick up a sandwich to eat in or take out, or browse through the aisles of gourmet foods.

The salami sandwich may be the highest example of the sandwich-maker's art, requiring a mastery of everything from ingredient selection to structural engineering. And Pat's #1 passes the test with flying colors. There's nothing peculiar to its salami sandwich, no weird secret ingredients or artisan bread. Instead, it boasts best-quality meat in good proportion to fresh lettuce and strong, funky provolone, just enough sandwich oil to get a little damp, and a dash of salt and pepper, all mounted on a chewy roll and wrapped in sandwich paper. There are restaurants that do more innovative cuisine, more worldly cuisine, certainly more expensive cuisine, but when it comes to the perfect salami sandwich, Pat's is truly #1.


Pat's Philly Steaks and Subs
The salami sandwich may be the highest example of the sandwich-maker's art, requiring a mastery of everything from ingredient selection to structural engineering. And Pat's #1 passes the test with flying colors. There's nothing peculiar to its salami sandwich, no weird secret ingredients or artisan bread. Instead, it boasts best-quality meat in good proportion to fresh lettuce and strong, funky provolone, just enough sandwich oil to get a little damp, and a dash of salt and pepper, all mounted on a chewy roll and wrapped in sandwich paper. There are restaurants that do more innovative cuisine, more worldly cuisine, certainly more expensive cuisine, but when it comes to the perfect salami sandwich, Pat's is truly #1.

Wolfe's Barbeque makes tasty pulled-pork sandwiches, and its barbecued tofu is legendary. But the true, can't-miss item here is owner Louis Wolfe's pecan pie. The crust is light and flaky, and the pecan filling has the texture of chiffon on the tongue. Not too dense or too sweet, it's the perfect post-barbecue treat. Wolfe sells his homemade confection by the slice, but if you ask nicely, he may sell you the whole pie.


Wolfe's Barbeque makes tasty pulled-pork sandwiches, and its barbecued tofu is legendary. But the true, can't-miss item here is owner Louis Wolfe's pecan pie. The crust is light and flaky, and the pecan filling has the texture of chiffon on the tongue. Not too dense or too sweet, it's the perfect post-barbecue treat. Wolfe sells his homemade confection by the slice, but if you ask nicely, he may sell you the whole pie.

Mack and Daisy Shead started out with a modest storefront; twenty years later, they have a million-dollar barbecue joint. But through the years, the essential core of any great BBQ operation has remained the same: the recipes. The Sheads' knowledge stretches back generations, and that heritage flavors the ribs, the small ends, the chicken and the sides -- even the homemade lemonade that's served in Mason jars. Everything at M&D's rings true, offering the best taste of Southern barbecue in town.


Mack and Daisy Shead started out with a modest storefront; twenty years later, they have a million-dollar Five Points barbecue joint. But through the years, the essential core of any great BBQ operation has remained the same: the recipes. The Sheads' knowledge stretches back generations, and that heritage flavors the ribs, the small ends, the chicken and the sides -- even the homemade lemonade that's served in Mason jars. Everything at M&D's rings true, offering the best taste of Southern barbecue in town.

Come to Papa. This may look like just another strip-mall barbecue joint, but Big Papa's makes a sublime rack of baby-back ribs, all charred and crusty 'round the edges, smooth and fatty and tender inside. Making them even better are Papa's homemade sauces, four varieties from different regional traditions: Memphis, Kansas City, a mustard-spiked Carolina and a Deep South. Papa's also does good link sausage and chicken, brisket sandwiches on po'boy rolls rather than plain white Wonder Bread, and authentic hush puppies, but the baby backs are what will bring you back.


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